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Anchorage School District in Alaska projects a $15.2M loss

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Anchorage School District’s finance team has projected a loss of $15.2 million for the fiscal year ending on June 30 because of lower enrollment.
The district’s finance team presented the report to the Anchorage School Board finance committee on Monday.
Most of the district’s funding comes from student enrollment, which fell more than 9% this year, Alaska Public Media reported.
Many families have pulled their children out of the district and into private schools or homeschools as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the report said.
The school district has conducted class from home since March despite at least three different attempts to resume in-person instruction.
The school district’s Chief Financial Officer Jim Anderson said in the meeting that funding is currently sufficient for the rest of the year.
“We have the funds to operate this year,” Anderson said. ”We’re continuing to move forward. We’re continuing to push even more PPE and other safety devices at the schools and we’re funded to operate this year.”
How the school district handles its long-term budget is more unclear. The report projects a budget shortfall of about $30 to $40 million for the next fiscal year and about $60 to $70 million over the next three years. The report said the deficit could result in layoffs of up to 750 jobs.
Superintendent Deena Bishop said that while the district was able to avoid layoffs this school year, they will be harder to avoid if current trends persist.
“Moving into the new budget year, we’re less assured of remaining the same,” Bishop said during the meeting. “Given that our budget is over 90% human resources, we may be impacting human resources and having to make some of those decisions.”
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